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25% in FL Can Tap Marketplace

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Chris Urso, Tampa Tribune
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Anita Balch is a nurse, so everyone asks her about the Marketplace and other key features of the Affordable Care Act that are coming on line between now and Jan. 1. But she’s just as confused as everyone else, she says, because of the five-year political fight that Republicans have waged against Obamacare.

Actually, many of those who are worried and trying to get information about the online enrollment site due to open Oct. 1 are not going to be affected by it because they already get decent affordable coverage through a group plan or because they’re already enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid or some other government plan.

Only 25 percent of Floridians will likely benefit from checking out the Marketplace and using it to enroll in a health plan, asThe Tampa Tribunereports: the uninsured and those who now have to buy their own health insurance policies in the individual or small-group market.

In a package of stories about the health law reported this weekend, the Tribune’s Mary Shedden tries to answer Balch’s plea: “You guys, the average American deserves to get information. I don't need the polarization. ... I want every human being to get the truth.”

Here are two of the stories published this weekend about how the law will affect Florida:

--Small business owners like Angie Short, who has 10 employees, don’t have to provide health coverage to their workers, the Tampa Tribune reports. But the employees have to obtain insurance for themselves under the new health law or pay a penalty, so she feels their pain. And she’s afraid that if she doesn’t provide health coverage, she may not be competitive. 

--Young working-age adults who have no health insurance, aren’t on their parents’ policies and don’t think they can afford to buy their own may risk going without and pay a penalty at tax time, the Tampa Tribune reports. But to be successful the market needs these healthy young people in it. So the Marketplace offers them some options, including a low-premium “Bronze” plan with a high deductible and a subsidy to cover out of pocket costs if they earn less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.